• Texas judge wants $10M set aside in 'Fifty Shades' case

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    DALLAS (AP) — A Texas judge has told lawyers for an Australian woman and her publishing company to set aside $10 million for a former business partner who says she was defrauded out of her rightful share from the sale of the erotic best-seller "Fifty Shades of Grey" and two companion novels. State District Judge Susan McCoy said Wednesday that she wants the money deposited in a court registry by Sept. 25 as attorneys seek to negotiate a judgment amount for Jennifer Pedroza, who lives in the Dallas suburb of Arlington. A jury earlier this year determined that Amanda Hayward, one of Pedroza's former business partners in e-book publisher The Writers Coffee Shop, cut Pedroza out of her share of royalties from the $40 million sa

  • Iowa official orders Texas company to pay back investors

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's insurance commissioner is ordering a Texas company to repay over $2 million he says was defrauded from Iowa residents. Commissioner Nick Gerhart announced Thursday that he had ordered Carson Energy, Inc., to repay money to 14 Iowa residents. A news release says they were defrauded with "unregistered gas and oil investments." Gerhart's office seeks to protect people from fraud. The order names the Austin-based company and three current or former staffers. The company may request a hearing on the charges. Senior Vice President Michael Johnson says the accusations are false. He says the company will fight the charges and expressed confidence it would be resolved.

  • Freeport-McMoRan cuts more spending; Icahn discloses stake

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    PHOENIX (AP) — Activist investor Carl Icahn said late Thursday that he has taken an 8.5-percent stake in Freeport-McMoRan, just hours after the mining company announced cost cuts and lower spending in response to declining copper prices and soft economic conditions worldwide. Shares of the Phoenix company surged 29 percent to $10.19 after it announced the spending reductions, although the stock is still down 72 percent in the past year. On Wednesday it reached its lowest price in 12 years. After Icahn disclosed his stake, the stock gained another 19 percent in extended trading, to $12.15. Icahn said he wanted to discuss cuts to Freeport's operations and capital spending, and might seek representation on the board.

  • Sprint offers DirecTV customers free year of phone service

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Sprint is offering DirecTV customers one free year of cellphone service in a bold move aimed at the satellite TV company's new owner, AT&T. AT&T, which bought DirecTV for $48.5 billion in July, has been promoting a bundle that knocks $10 a month off a combined bill for video and wireless phone service. For a single line, the value of Sprint's promotion is about $50 a month. It's Sprint's way of offering DirecTV customers a bundle without actually owning a video company. Sprint, which is in the midst of a turnaround effort, has been making a range of promotional offers to lure customers. But so far, the Overland Park, Kansas, company hasn't been as successful as T-Mobile, which went through its own turnaround

  • For the first time, 1 billion people used Facebook in a day

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time, a billion people used Facebook in a single day on Monday. CEO Mark Zuckerberg marked the occasion with a post on his Facebook page, saying that one out of seven people on Earth logged in to the social network to connect with their friends and family. The 1 billion figure is different from the daily user numbers Facebook discloses each quarter when it reports its financial results. Those are the average number of daily users, counted over a 30-day period. Facebook had 968 million daily active users in June. Overall, Facebook has nearly 1.5 billion users who log in at least once a month. It hit the 1 billion user milestone in October 2012. Most people on Facebook live outside the U.S.

  • Correction: Drilling Waste-EPA story

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    DALLAS (AP) — In a story Aug. 26 about oil and gas waste, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Texas has about 172,000 injection wells. There are about 172,000 injection wells nationwide and 36,000 in Texas. A corrected version of the story is below: Environmentalists threaten to sue EPA over fracking waste Environmentalists threaten to sue EPA if it does not revise regulations on fracking waste DALLAS (AP) — Critics have notified the Environmental Protection Agency of their intent to sue if regulators do not update their rules on fracking waste in 60 days. The letter sent to Administrator Gina McCarthy on Wednesday says EPA has flouted its obligation to update the rules on oil and gas waste ev

  • Jury: Cable company largely responsible in fatal blast

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Time Warner Cable must pay nearly $6 million as part of a lawsuit alleging it was largely responsible for a fatal natural gas explosion that leveled an upscale Kansas City restaurant, jurors ruled Thursday. Brothers David and Jimmy Frantze, who operated the popular JJ's restaurant, were seeking more than $9 million in damages from Time Warner Cable and USIC Locating Services, which contracts with utility companies. Their lawsuit was among several that were filed following the February 2013 explosion, which killed restaurant worker Megan Cramer and injured more than a dozen other people. The blast occurred after a crew for Heartland Midwest, a Kansas-based cable company subcontractor, breached a natur

  • Iowa power cooperative to add solar panels to the state

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa power cooperative says it plans to add solar panels to the state to generate another source of energy. Central Iowa Power Cooperative said Thursday it plans to have the panels operational by the end of 2016. They're currently accepting bids for the work, which will determine where the panels are located and how much will be spent. CIPCO says the panels will be located on the ground. Officials expect to use at least 30 acres of land for the project, which may be split into several sites. Karen Morrow, a CIPCO spokeswoman, says generating solar energy is another way for the cooperative to provide clean electricity. Officials say they use resources including wind and hydroelectric.

  • Company: Settlement reached in lawsuit over Gulf oil leak

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans energy company said Thursday it has reached a settlement agreement with environmental groups in a lawsuit stemming from the company's failed efforts to stop a decade-old, slow-motion oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A federal court filing Thursday stated that an agreement had been reached between Taylor Energy Company and the environmental groups. Taylor said in a news release it has agreed under the settlement to make a $300,000 donation to a Louisiana marine research consortium and to fund $100,000 in research on the ecological effects of small, long term leaks in the Gulf. Taylor also said it will host a public forum and publish a website with information on the company's spill response.

  • Dole Food CEO, former top exec ordered to pay $148M

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    DOVER, Del. (AP) — A Delaware judge on Thursday ordered 92-year-old Dole Food CEO David Murdock and a former top lieutenant to pay $148 million in damages for misleading directors and shareholders in a deal that took the company private in 2013. The judge on Thursday said the billionaire businessman, along with former Dole president and chief operating officer C. Michael Carter, breached their fiduciary duties of loyalty in structuring a $1.2 billion cash buyout that left the fruit-and-vegetable giant in Murdock's hands. Vice Chancellor Travis Laster noted that a board committee was able to overcome most of the two men's "machinations," negotiating an increase in Murdock's initial $12 per share offer to a deal price of $13.

  • St. Jude and Tiffany are big market movers

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market: NYSE St. Jude Medical Inc., up $3.09 to $72.43 Abbott is preparing a takeover bid of up to $25 billion for the medical device maker, according to The Financial Times. Abbott denied the report. Tiffany & Co., down $1.79 to $83.29 The luxury jeweler reported worse-than-expected fiscal second-quarter profit and revenue and a weak full-year profit outlook. The J.M. Smucker Co., up $7.14 to $116.29 The food maker reported better-than-expected fiscal first-quarter profit and revenue and an upbeat full-year outlook. Guess' Inc., up 93 cents to $22.

  • Oil jumps 10 percent for biggest one-day gain since 2009

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Oil soared more than 10 percent Thursday, its biggest one-day gain since March 2009, lifted by resurgent global stock markets and a report showing the U.S. economy grew faster than previously reported in the second quarter. U.S. oil rose $3.96, or 10.3 percent, to $42.56 in New York. That is the biggest gain since March 12, 2009, when oil gained 11 percent. Brent crude rose 10.3 percent to $47.56 a barrel in London. Oil had fallen to a 6 ½ year low because of a global supply glut and worries about the health of China's economy. Analysts viewed Thursday's gain as a reaction to the rebound in China's main stock index, which rose the most in eight weeks, and don't see anything pointing to a long-term rally in

  • Environment groups: Settlement not final in oil leak lawsuit

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The latest about a potential settlement of a lawsuit by environmental groups against a New Orleans company that failed to end a decade-old leak in the Gulf of Mexico (all times local) ___ 2:30 p.m. Environmental groups say they're pleased at the progress of talks with a New Orleans company that has failed to end a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, but it's too early to talk about potential settlements. Taylor Energy Co. said Thursday it has reached a settlement, and has agreed to spend $400,000 to foster coastal research, to host a public forum and to publish a website with information about the company's spill response.

  • A Q&A with Wall Street's top psychiatrist on market turmoil

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — When it seems like the stock market has lost its mind, big banks and investment firms often turn to one particular psychiatrist: Richard Peterson, CEO of MarketPsych, a firm that applies research from behavioral science to financial markets. MarketPsych's computer programs attempt to gauge the market's mood by scanning news and Twitter and other social media. The data feed it sells to traders sifts through more than 3 million articles each day, registering confusion, optimism and fear. Last month, Peterson warned his investor clients that they were in for a rough ride and probably "a real correction" later in the summer. "Fear is creeping in," he said.

  • FDA lays out proposal for naming lower-cost biotech drugs

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration released its proposal Thursday for naming lower-cost biotech drugs, a critical step in creating a market for the new class of medicines. These quasi-generic biotech drugs have the potential to save the U.S. health care system billions of dollars in costs. But representatives for the generic drug industry warned that the FDA's proposal could curb those savings by making the drugs more difficult to prescribe. Biotech drugs are powerful, injected medicines produced in living cells which are typically much more expensive than traditional chemical-based drugs. Many newer biotech drugs cost more than $100,000 per year and together they account for nearly 30 percent of all U.S. dr

  • US regulators, Millstone nuke plant settle dispute

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    WATERFORD, Conn. (AP) — The parent company of Connecticut's nuclear plant and federal regulators have reached a settlement over the plant operator's decision, without regulatory approval, to halt the use of a safety-related pump in the event of a severe accident. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday cited a "willful violation" for changes by Dominion Resources Inc. without a license amendment at its Millstone Unit 2 plant in Waterford. Ken Holt, a Millstone spokesman, said Dominion does not agree that the violation was deliberate. "It's an item we could not find consensus on. We agreed to disagree," he said.

  • With eye on future foreign flights, Vegas airport to grow

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas plans to double the number of international gates at McCarran International Airport with the expectation that foreign travel to the destination will climb as officials seek out prized direct flights, particularly with Asia. McCarran International Airport director Rosemary Vassiliadis said Thursday that construction to convert part of an existing link between its D concourse and one of its two terminals into seven additional international gates would begin later this year. Among the new gates would be one to accommodate a wide-body double-decker A-380 aircraft for the first time at the airport. "We don't want them to think they can't come here," she said of the airlines flying the massive pas

  • Apple schedules new product event for Sept. 9

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple has announced plans for a new product event on Sept. 9 in San Francisco, where the giant tech company is expected to show off new iPhones and other gadgets. The company has introduced a new iPhone model every year around this time. But in typical fashion, Apple is only dropping vague clues about its plans. Invitations sent to reporters and analysts on Thursday were headlined, "Hey Siri, give us a hint." Apple has previously said it plans to expand the capabilities of Siri, its voice-activated personal assistant, in an upcoming version of its operating software for iPhones and iPads. Industry insiders have also speculated Apple may introduce a larger iPad for business users, a new set-top box

  • Documents: Workers had no way to issue warning after spill

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Members of a federal cleanup crew were initially trapped and unable to warn downstream communities that they had accidentally unleashed toxic waste water from a Colorado gold mine, according to government documents released Thursday. During that time, a trickle of water started by excavation work at the site grew to a torrent and 3 million gallons eventually poured out of the remote Gold King Mine near Silverton, fouling downstream rivers in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. The federal Environmental Protection Agency released the documents after coming under increasing political pressure to explain how the Aug. 5 accident occurred and why it took so long to issue the warning.

  • New estimate: Apple shipped 3.6 million watches last quarter

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A new report estimates Apple shipped 3.6 million watches in the last quarter — more than some analysts have estimated and enough to change the competitive landscape for fitness bands and other wearable gadgets. Apple shipped enough units of its new smartwatch to nearly overtake market leader FitBit in the last quarter, according to analysts at International Data Corp. Their report warns that traditional fitness bands may be losing popularity to smartwatches and other devices that offer more features. "People want to get more out of their devices," said IDC's Ramon Llamas in an interview. "It's kind of like the way smartphones overtook basic phones.




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